I was surprised to read on your news blog ("Big Money in the Harbor Commission Race," Oct. 23) that Susan Rotwein's campaign had raised nearly $19,000 and spent $12,890 as of roughly mid-October.
On Oct. 20, Ms. Rotwein told a voters' forum in Trinidad that her campaign had spent around $3,000 to $4,000 so far.
That's not a rounding error. That's three to five times less than her campaign actually spent.
The kindest possible interpretation of the discrepancy between these numbers is that Ms. Rotwein misspoke, either out of ignorance of her own campaign finances or out of misremembering them. Ms. Rotwein is responsible for these filings and should know their content. Is this discrepancy so slight to her that she views the difference between $4,000 and nearly $13,000 as insignificant? This does not suggest a fiscally aware and responsible candidate, let alone someone qualified to help oversee our harbor.
The less generous interpretation is that Ms. Rotwein sat at the front of Trinidad Town Hall, at a voter forum sponsored by the Greater Trinidad Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters, and lied. In response to a question moments before, Pat Higgins, the incumbent, had estimated he would spend around $5,000 for his whole campaign. Then, when Ms. Rotwein was asked the same question, she came up with $3,000 to $4,000. If a candidate thinks she will suffer no consequences for lying about something so easily fact-checked, what else will she lie about to get elected? And if that candidate is elected, what's really in store for Humboldt Bay and Humboldt County?
Roy Dahlberg, Trinidad
Pat Higgins, Harbor District Commissioner 5th District, debated his opponent in Trinidad on Oct. 20. When asked how much their campaigns had spent to date, his opponent answered between $3,000 and $4,000. Her financial statements show her expenditures to be over $12,000.
She is her own treasurer and must have known the correct amount, but made a false statement. Maybe she needs to do a forensic audit of her campaign finances?
Pat Higgins is a harbor commissioner I can trust. He is honest, hardworking and as a biologist, highly qualified to serve at the Harbor District. Pat is responsible for getting all meetings videotaped, available for viewing. He worked with other governments to make the MLPA better for fishermen. He is committed to protecting our Humboldt Bay while diversifying economic opportunities. Please vote to re-elect Pat Higgins.
Meighan O'Brien, McKinleyville
EDITOR'S NOTE: Rotwein tells the Journal she answered that question, two days before campaign finance reports were due, "based on what I had on the books. ... My financials weren't together." It's also worth noting that in campaign finance disclosure forms, Higgins reported having raised $7,528 and spent $6,061 as of Oct. 22.